The Suburban Side of Transit-Oriented Development

By Mike Kritzman  |  October 24, 2018

Over the past 25 years, The Lakota Group has planned and designed transit-oriented developments around the Midwest. And we continue to help communities to transform the areas around their stations into destinations, hubs of economic activity, and people-filled Places. These projects and our current work in Chicago, Naperville, Niles, Des Plaines, Mount Prospect, and Deerfield... Read More

Categories: 25 Lakota, Ideas + Research

Biomimicry & Community Engagement: What Nature Can Teach Us About Building Strong Communities

By Rachael Smith  |  February 13, 2018

Here at The Lakota Group, we’ve been talking about how to best engage communities so that the projects we work on are truly community driven. This conversation has been happening simultaneously with a personal exploration of biomimicry and how it can be applied to urban planning. Biomimicry is the practice of looking to nature to... Read More

Categories: Around the Office, Ideas + Research

Street Marionette

By Siraj Asfahani  |  June 27, 2017

Date: Monday the 19th | Time: 6:00 pm I open the door and the show begins. I walk the usual left, right, left with brief pauses during certain turns. I make sure not to stray away from my regular 3-foot wide path on stage; I feel anxious as I take my last turn. The performance... Read More

Categories: Ideas + Research

Rethinking Community Engagement

By Becky Hurley  |  April 3, 2017

At Lakota, we pride ourselves on our community engagement and we work hard at it.  Phone calls, surveys, and digital input have their place, but nothing beats walking around and talking to peoplereal—and by this, I mean busy, opinionated, complex, and completely human —people. There are hidden issues at play, ranging from how we do... Read More

Categories: Ideas + Research

Immediate Urbanism: Quicker, Cheaper & Way More Fun

By Valerie Poulos  |  February 22, 2017

Becoming aware: My daily commute is all of one hour, door to door. Within that hour, I drive, park, walk, ride the green line, and then walk the last half mile to get to the front door of my brick-faced office. If you are like me, and take the same route (or some version of... Read More

Categories: Ideas + Research

Governmental Policy and the Creation of Vibrant Rural Communities

By Cade W. Sterling, MLA  |  January 25, 2017

How does the government define rural, and how can allies of the built environment challenge the incoming administration to continue and advance programs and policies that have strengthened and maintained rural character and sense of place? The U.S. Census Bureau simply defines rural as, “areas that are not urban–that is, after defining individual urban areas,... Read More

Categories: Ideas + Research

Empower your Community with These Three Strategies

By Cassandra Ann  |  January 11, 2017

“There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.” — Margaret J. Wheatley As communities’ Allies in Place, we strive to help our clients and their constituents discover those things they care about most, and develop plans that make them come to fruition. We continually look to add to... Read More

Categories: Ideas + Research, Project Stories

Milwaukee Redux – the 2016 Main Street Now Conference

By Nick Kalogeresis  |  June 2, 2016

Every morning this past month of May, I’ve mistakenly typed “mainst” into my laptop computer password field at work. Such an annoying occurrence — it was my old password from the laptop I had while working for the National Main Street Center so many years ago. But I know why I was doing it —... Read More

Categories: Around the Office, Ideas + Research

Historic Preservation: An Integral Ingredient in Solving the Contemporary Urban Plight

By The Lakota Group  |  October 8, 2015

Want more? Click here for the full PDF:Historic Preservation – An Integral Ingredient in Solving the Contemporary Urban Plight Read More

Categories: Ideas + Research, In The News

Tactical Urbanism, Sunnyside-Up!

By The Lakota Group  |  September 4, 2015

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Categories: Around the Office, Ideas + Research, Project Stories

CNU-IL and AIA-Chicago Host “Tactical Urbanism Slam”

By Becky Hurley  |  June 1, 2015

On Thursday May 7th at the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT), Kyle Smith of CNT and Ian Sisson of The Lakota Group co-hosted a “Tactical Urbanism Slam” with their respective organizations, the Congress for New Urbanism – Illinois Chapter (CNU-IL), and the American Institute of Architects Chicago Chapter (AIA Chicago). The event featured eight speakers with... Read More

Categories: Around the Office, Awards + Accolades, Ideas + Research

Density in the Suburbs | APA 2014 Conference

By Nick Kalogeresis  |  September 30, 2014

Lakota is a sponsor of this week’s APA-IL conference in Evanston, and we hope to see you there! Come see Scott participate in a panel discussion titled “Density in the Suburbs” on Wednesday at 1:00. The topic will be how to retrofit obsolete single use, suburban development into high density, sustainable development. As the program... Read More

Categories: Awards + Accolades, Ideas + Research

Lakota Bullish about Downtown Kenosha

By Nick Kalogeresis  |  September 16, 2014

Scott was the keynote speaker at the annual State of Downtown Kenosha this week, where he told the audience of more than 100 people that the city had a unique asset to build on:  its streetcar infrastructure.  The event was reported in the Kenosha News under the headline “Boosters bullish about state of downtown Kenosha”... Read More

Categories: Awards + Accolades, Ideas + Research, In The News, Project Stories

Scott as Badger

By Becky Hurley  |  July 14, 2014

Scott was interviewed by his alma mater, the University of Wisconsin, about his work as a landscape architect in the 20-plus years since he graduated.  Scott’s reflections about the practice of landscape architecture and how it has changed is worth a look, even for those who do not bleed Badger red.  Scott remembers that twenty... Read More

Categories: Ideas + Research, In The News

Visiting Detroit at the 2014 National Main Street Conference

By Nick Kalogeresis  |  June 4, 2014

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written a blog post – more than a year in fact. Well, I thought I’d make up for my extended absence from the keyboard by chronicling my attendance at the National Main Street Conference, held this year in Detroit – the “Motor City!” – a place I’d come... Read More

Categories: Around the Office, Ideas + Research

Lakota, LAbash and the Future of Landscape Architecture

By The Lakota Group  |  April 23, 2014

 Each year, landscape architecture students host an event called LAbash and for three days industry professionals are welcomed to host design workshops and give presentations on topics relevant to the industry. Since 1970, the networking event has been hosted by a different university in North America and since this year it was being held Scott... Read More

Categories: Awards + Accolades, Ideas + Research

Synthetic Turf’s Presence Grows in Winnetka

By The Lakota Group  |  August 29, 2013

A few weeks ago I attended the ribbon cutting for a project I worked on for the Winnetka Park District.  The project was the first portion of a Master Plan enhancement to the Park District’s Skokie Playfield complex.  It was very rewarding to see the project come to life as it had been a five... Read More

Categories: Ideas + Research, Project Stories

The Famous Box Elder

By The Lakota Group  |  August 5, 2013

I opened up my July issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine and started flipping through the pages, looking for some cool designs and inspiration. After reading a few articles, I turned the page and saw some wire trees. I said to myself, ‘This is cool–I did the same type of thing as my first project in... Read More

Categories: Ideas + Research

Art-o-mat in the ‘Cloud

By The Lakota Group  |  April 10, 2013

Recently, a group of us from Lakota were in St. Cloud, Minnesota, kicking off a Comprehensive Placemaking process. It was an intense, but great, week. We met with a diverse spectrum of people through a range of formal and informal settings. For much of the week we were camped out in a vacant storefront on... Read More

Categories: Ideas + Research, Project Stories

Challenges and Opportunities of Integrating “Green” into Ordinances

By The Lakota Group  |  April 2, 2013

As the desire to incorporate sustainable initiatives into homes, businesses and developments grows, local governments often find that their ordinances did not anticipate these new practices. While certain practices require completely new language, others—such as rain barrels and light shelves—may be restricted by unintentional barriers within existing ordinances. Daniel Grove, Lakota associate principal, will present... Read More

Categories: Awards + Accolades, Ideas + Research

Mastering the Main Street Revitalization Approach

By The Lakota Group  |  April 1, 2013

The grassroots Main Street Four-Point Approach, developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, has helped revitalize traditional commercial districts in small towns, suburbs, and urban neighborhoods across the country over the last three decades. Lakota vice president, Nick Kalogeresis, who spent 10 years working for the National Trust Main Street Center as a program... Read More

Categories: Ideas + Research, In The News, Project Stories

Transit-Oriented Downtown Evanston

By The Lakota Group  |  April 1, 2013

Abutting Chicago’s North Side, Evanston has developed a reputation as a desirable, transit-oriented community that promotes economic growth without compromising its unique sense of place. For the APA’s National Planning Conference being held in Chicago from April 13-17, Kevin Clark, Lakota Group vice president, will give a tour of Evanston’s mixed-used downtown and will talk... Read More

Categories: Around the Office, Ideas + Research, In The News

Reinvigorating Oak Park through Public Investment

By The Lakota Group  |  April 1, 2013

What is the long-term value of investing in high-quality public spaces? And what impact do public infrastructure improvements have on private investment and placemaking? Daniel Grove, associate principal at The Lakota Group, and Scott Freres, principal/president, will be giving a tour of historic Marion Street in Oak Park for the National American Planning Association Conference... Read More

Categories: Awards + Accolades, Ideas + Research, In The News, Project Stories

Frank Lloyd Wright and Survey Serendipity

By Nick Kalogeresis  |  March 14, 2013

I’ve spent most of my adult life living in Oak Park, Illinois, that well-known Chicago suburb celebrated for being the birthplace of Ernest Hemingway and the home of that other distinguished gentleman, Frank Lloyd Wright, who designed a number of his Prairie School homes and buildings in the community during the first couple of decades... Read More

Categories: Awards + Accolades, Ideas + Research

My Ideal Urban Design/Planning Bookshelf

By Mike Kritzman  |  January 10, 2013

In response to one of 2012’s big holiday gifts for bibliophiles, My Ideal Bookshelf, in which various leading cultural figures provide a list of their favorite books, I’ve decided to jump on the bandwagon and offer up my own personal list. However, in the spirit of this blog and for the sake of brevity (I... Read More

Categories: Ideas + Research

Bike Sharing is Coming to Chicago

By The Lakota Group  |  November 28, 2012

Here at The Lakota Group, we have a few employees who ride their bikes regularly to work (Megan and Jason), so we were happy to hear that Chicago is bringing bike love to everyone come Spring 2013. The Chicago Department of Transportation is asking anyone who is interested to post on a map where he... Read More

Categories: Around the Office, Ideas + Research

Tour de Cincinnati

By The Lakota Group  |  October 10, 2012

  I recently had the opportunity to spend a long weekend back in my hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. Every time I take a trip back I’m eager to experience the slow, but steady, revitalization of downtown and the near neighborhoods. This time, it was a little bit more exciting because I was hauling my bike... Read More

Categories: Around the Office, Ideas + Research

Change–The Only Constant at the Lurie Garden

By The Lakota Group  |  September 27, 2012

Last year, I had the opportunity to intern at the Lurie Garden in Chicago’s Millennium Park, designed by Gustafson Guthrie Nichol and Piet Oudolf. While working in the garden, I was reminded daily of a design element that distinguishes the practice landscape architecture from other design disciplines –change in the landscape over time. Completed in... Read More

Categories: Around the Office, Ideas + Research

Pullman State Historic Site: ULI Releases Technical Assistance Panel Report

By Nick Kalogeresis  |  May 17, 2012

As a follow-up to an earlier post here at the Lakota blog regarding the Pullman State Historic Site, the Urban Land Institute-Chicago District Council just released the Final Report of its Technical Assistance Panel Visit to the site last October.  The report provides a summary of the Panel’s findings during its three-day site visit, including... Read More

Categories: Ideas + Research, In The News, Project Stories

Historic Theaters and Revitalizing Traditional Commercial Districts – Recent Lakota Work

By Nick Kalogeresis  |  April 12, 2012

Over the past year, the Lakota Group has had a full plate of work with challenging commercial district planning work in three very distinct communities and neighborhoods  – the Six Corners commercial district in Chicago’s ethnically diverse northwest side; downtown Kenosha, Wisconsin, once one of the state’s most bustling industrial hubs; and Momence, Illinois, a small... Read More

Categories: Around the Office, Ideas + Research, In The News, Project Stories

Main Street Momence Does A Master Plan

By Nick Kalogeresis  |  December 2, 2011

Over the years, The Lakota Group has had the privilege and opportunity to work in many rural towns and small communities throughout the Midwest, ranging in assignments from designing new waterfronts to designing streetscapes and preparing downtown master plans.  During the last three years, our Main Street revitalization and historic preservation work has also taken... Read More

Categories: Ideas + Research, Project Stories

Pullman 20 years later – Lakota Participates in ULI Technical Assistance Panel for the Pullman State Historic Site

By Nick Kalogeresis  |  October 24, 2011

In April 1991, under former Governor James R. Thompson, the State of Illinois purchased the Pullman Palace Car Company Factory Complex and the adjacent Florence Hotel as part of a newly established state historic site. Those of you may recall from your college history or urban planning classes that Pullman was one of the country’s first... Read More

Categories: Awards + Accolades, Ideas + Research, Project Stories